Fortis Square

Once in a while these days a simple watch comes out that is attractive and competent without being overly classic. The Fortis Square has a name about as simple as the watch itself. The appeal is there, yet beguiling. Fortis is known for making well built professional watches worn by pilots, astronauts, and similar demanding users. No current Fortis watch is a meant to be a jewelry watch, or anything too far detached from a functional companion. The majority of their cases are matte finished or sand blasted for a decidedly sober look. Though I would not classify any Fortis as boring. Instead the watches are instruments, meant to serve a dedicated purpose.

The Fortis Square is a in fact a perfect 1.5 inch by 1.5 inch square (not taking into consideration the lugs). It is basically a round watch in a square case, but something separates it from the legion of other square watches out there. When looking at the Fortis Square, you will notice the inset face. Meaning the inner bezel tapers down a bit with the majority of the face being a bit lower than the outside area. This acts to enhance legibility as the hands of the watch are on the same plane as the bezel with the minute indicators. Because watch hands must almost always be raised, it is often a good idea to level out the viewing field to aid with “readability.” Here the Fortis Square fares very well.

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Inside the watch is an ETA automatic with a day and date function that Fortis has integrated well into the face. The horizontal line that the day and date window create are merged together which helps detract from the size of the window. Further, the “9” indicator is also a horizontal white bar that while smaller than the day and date window, is a similar shape and dramatically contributes to symmetry. White numerals on black faces with a red seconds hand is a trademark look for Fortis and applied here once again. All numbers and hands are well coated in luminant for dark condition visibility.

Fortis Square Watch Pics

The watch crown is functional and large enough to be comfortable. The look of the crown is meant to evoke classic radio knobs or similar twisting and turning instrument manipulators and adjusters. Through the back of the case the automatic movement is displayed, unadorned in Fortis’ typical manner; these are instruments, not jewelry pieces remember?

Now, in my opinion the case of the Fortis Square is the best part. Although it was clear to me why I liked it, I struggled to pinpoint why. There is something retro about the entire watch, but in a subdued manner. I then realized it was not the styling that was retro, but rather the design itself. The watch is meant to look like instrument panels of the past. Angular and functional, but tasteful. The square case is a frame for a reading inside. That reading being the time. The frame character is hinted to on the case by seeing the small outline of a square before the edge of the outside bezel. This enhances the edge making internal viewing more comfortable and prominent. The lugs on the case are also wonderfully angular and instrument like. The watch talks from time between art deco and modern design when streamlining was unnecessary, and strength in purpose was a paramount design intention.

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The width of the strap is 24mm, a size I very much enjoy. On the larger side, you really get a nice comfortable, non slipping fit. Fortis outfits their straps with internal padding making them last long, and easy to wear. Prices for the Fortis Square are very reasonable as they can be had for $1,000 – $1,500 depending where you get them, the strap, and whether you are opting for the standard model, or one featured with the GMT 24 hour hand. I can easily say that wearing a Fortis Square makes a statement about the owner in terms of being able to wear a conservative timepiece while at the same time wishing to standout from the crowd.

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